Placing your child in someone else’s care is never an easy task but many parents in Alabama must place their children in daycare. Parents trust daycare facilities, nannies and child care workers to provide a loving and safe environment for their children. Parents choose childcare with the expectation that the childcare workers will keep their children safe, clean and engaged. Tragically, this is not always the case, and children are neglected or abused when daycares or nannies fail to provide adequate supervision or care.
The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) gathers information about child abuse from state Child Protective Service (CPS) agencies. The Child Maltreatment Report, based on NCANDS data, is published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. The report states that in 2012, approximately 3.4 million abuse or neglect referrals were made to CPS offices in the U.S. The referrals involved over 6 million children. Victims under the age of one suffered the most. The report estimates that 1,640 children died in this country in 2012 because of abuse and neglect. Almost 1,200 of these deaths were children under the age of three years old.
Abuse and neglect come in many forms and are caused by different people in various situations. Inadequate staffing, improperly trained or screened employees, and poor supervision can cause harm to children. Daycare facilities are obligated to protect children from a dangerous employee that wants to cause physical, or sexual abuse, and they do not always fulfill their obligation. Children can also be subject to significant emotional trauma from abuse or neglect at the hands of a nanny or daycare worker who can cause a lifetime of psychological hurdles to overcome. Improperly supervised children can also cause harm to each other.
Children are the most innocent victims of abuse and neglect because they cannot protect themselves. Cases of daycare abuse and neglect often go unreported because children are too young to talk about it or find it too difficult to talk about. In addition, parents do not always know what signs to look for that may indicate a child is being mistreated. If you suspect your child is being abused or neglected at a daycare, school or by a nanny in Alabama, contact someone for help. Daycare injury attorneys with experience in daycare abuse and neglect, like the ones at Farris, Riley & Pitt can help you, and your child recover from the injuries caused by the recklessness or negligence of a daycare provider.
What are Child Abuse and Child Neglect?
Alabama law states that child abuse is, “harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare which can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury; sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse; sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation”.
Child neglect is, “negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, medical treatment, clothing, or shelter: provided, however, that a parent or guardian legitimately practicing his religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child, for that reason alone shall not be considered a negligent parent or guardian; however, such an exception shall not preclude a court from ordering that medical services be provided to the child, where his health requires it.”
The laws above apply to everyone. The parent is not the only person who can abuse or neglect a child. When you place your child in the care of another adult, you expect that adult to care for and properly supervise your child. Sadly, a daycare worker, teacher or nanny may be responsible for causing physical or emotional injury to your child. If you think your child may be suffering at the hands of his caregiver, contact childcare attorneys Farris, Riley & Pitt. We can try to get you compensated for the trauma inflicted on your child and help you and your family with a long healing process. We can help in cases of daycare sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal or emotional abuse and child neglect.
Daycare Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse of children brings with it lifelong emotional trauma and perhaps the most significant, lasting and damaging psychological effects. However, sexual abuse or exploitation poses a particular problem, because children who are being sexually abused by a daycare provider are often too young to understand what “sexual abuse” is. This type of abuse often goes unreported because kids do not have the adequate vocabulary to explain what is happening.
There are, however, certain signs that may help you determine if your child is sexually abused by a nanny or at a daycare facility. Ask yourself:
- Is my child bleeding in or around the genital area?
- Does my child have bruising in or around the genital area?
- Is my child having difficulty sitting because of genital or anal pain?
- Does my child have a urinary tract infection?
- Is my child refusing to go to daycare or clinging to me when I leave in the morning?
- Is my child exhibiting any behavioral changes?
- Is my child having nightmares or night terrors?
- Has my child suddenly started asking questions that are of a sexual nature or acting out in a sexual manner?
If you suspect your child is sexually abused, it is important that you contact the proper reporting agency and do what you can to keep your child safe. To report sexual abuse in Alabama, you should call the police and contact the Department of Human Resources. You should act quickly to protect your child’s rights and to help you seek compensation for your child’s injuries. Daycare abuse attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have experience with cases of daycare sexual abuse and can help you and your family through this tragic time.
Daycare Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is that which causes bodily harm to your child. It can cause temporary or permanent injury. A young child, who is unable to protect him or herself, may be seriously harmed at the hands of an adult. Children often get bumped and scraped while playing with friends or on the playground. Common minor injuries that occur can make it difficult to know if your child is being abused at daycare or school, or is just horsing around. Ask yourself does my child:
- Have welts, bumps, burns or red areas on the skin?
- Have missing tufts of hair?
- Have trouble sitting indicating a sore bottom?
- Have bruises on wrists, arms or torso that may indicate being shaken or pulled?
- Have any visible injuries that form a pattern on the body?
- Demonstrate injuries to usually protected body parts?
- Show any signs of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) such as glassy eyes, lethargy, vomiting, decreased appetite, trouble focusing or lifting his head?
Daycare Child Neglect
The Role of Professional Child Care Providers in Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect was published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children’s Bureau. It states that child neglect usually encompasses “omissions in care resulting in significant harm or the risk of significant harm to children”. Neglect involves the caregiver’s inattention to the basic needs of a child, like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and supervision. Child neglect is typically an ongoing or chronic problem and can be in many forms. They are most commonly, physical neglect, medical neglect, emotional neglect, educational neglect, environmental neglect and inadequate supervision.
There are some visible signs that can help you determine if your child is being neglected by a nanny or other childcare provider. Look for the following:
- Signs of hunger or malnutrition;
- Developmental delays in speech or motor skills;
- Dirty or unkempt hygiene;
- Diaper rash;
Child Emotional Abuse
Physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect at daycare all cause emotional trauma to a child. All children need love and affection. They need to feel safe and supervised. Children look to the adults in their lives to provide them with the emotional support they need to grow into confident, resilient adults. When a nanny or another caregiver fails to satisfy the basic emotional needs of a child, it is a terrible form of abuse that can cause damage that follows a child well into adulthood.
If you suspect your child is emotionally, verbally or physically abused at daycare, ask yourself these questions. Is my child:
- Demonstrating any extreme behavior changes? Becoming unusually aggressive or withdrawn?
- Changing her speech patterns-developing a stutter, or not speaking at all?
- Complaining of stomach pain or headache?
- Showing signs that exhibit a lack of self-worth? (“I can’t” statements)
- Having sudden nightmares or other sleep interruptions?
- Refusing to interact with other kids?
- Hurting others?
- Acting depressed or crying more easily?
- Exhibiting regressive behavior?
Could Your Chosen Caregiver Be Abusing Your Child?
No parent wants to think that your child is being abused or neglected by anyone, certainly not the person you have trusted the most. If you do suspect something is not quite right, Babycenter.com offers some things to look for in a nanny or daycare worker that may help you determine whether or not your child is in an optimal environment. When speaking with your child’s caregiver, consider the following:
- Does the caregiver offer conflicting or unconvincing explanations?
- Does the caregiver give no explanation for bruises or injuries?
- Has the caregiver described your child in an extremely negative way?
- Does the caregiver belittle your child?
- Does she seem indifferent to your child?
- Does your caregiver seem secretive, isolated, or act jealous?
If you believe your child or infant may be subject to inappropriate conduct by a caregiver, act now to protect your child. Emotional and physical injuries that are caused by nannies and daycare workers can have a lifetime of negative effects on the family.
The sexual abuse or neglect of a child is intolerable. If you suspect your infant or child has been the victim of daycare abuse or daycare neglect, please contact the child injury attorneys in Alabama at Farris, Riley & Pitt for legal help. We can discuss your case with you and help protect the rights of your child. Whether the act took place in Montgomery, Mobile, Birmingham or other area, our attorneys can help.